New research examining the relationship between self-perceived value as a mate and one’s immune system strength has revealed that individuals who report frequent illness rate themselves lower as a mate. Additionally, researchers discovered that although those with good health may rate themselves as a high-value mate, there was no difference between the number of sex partners or relationship status between those with strong vs. weak immune systems.
The study, which was published in Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, indicates that the strength of your immune system may have consequences for self-perceived value as a mate but, in practice, has little to no effect on mating behavior.
Studies have suggested that a person’s level of immunological strength influences their ability to find a mate. A more robust immune system means that there is less of a chance of passing on harmful viruses or illnesses to a partner or offspring, and it would also increase the likelihood of transmitting disease-resistant genes, which may help their child survive.
Studies have also indicated that human immunity can indicate an individual’s value as a partner, which is determined by the traits or benefits they can offer a potential mate. People usually prefer to mate with someone healthy, and this tendency is seen in various countries, especially in places where there is a high risk of contracting diseases.
Results of studies have indicated that a person’s immune system can influence their mating success. A stronger immune system reduces the chances of transmitting pathogens to a partner or their children and increases the probability of providing them with genes and antibodies that can resist illnesses, thus enhancing the survival and well-being of their offspring.
Steven Arnocky and colleagues investigated the link between immunocompetence, health, and the attractiveness of potential mates among young adults. To evaluate immunocompetence, the researchers measured salivary immunoglobulin A (sIgA) and reported the frequency and intensity of ill health symptoms. Additionally, BMI was used to determine health. A total of 691 young adults were involved in the study. The association between immunocompetence and self-perceived mate value, sexual partners in the past, and current relationship status was examined.
The findings revealed that markers of immunity were linked to mate value. People with better health and higher SIgA concentrations declared a higher sense of mate value than those less healthy. The outcomes aligned with prior research that demonstrated people prefer mates with good health. On top of that, BMI negatively influenced mate value for men and women, with a more potent effect on women, implying that a higher BMI diminishes the ability to reproduce healthy offspring in females. Additionally, the research revealed that sIgA was a notable factor in deciding a man’s worth as a mate, but not a woman’s.
The investigation also demonstrated that physical condition and wellness are essential components of how someone values themselves as a potential partner. In other words, those with better health rate themselves as more attractive to the opposite sex. The findings also imply that a more comprehensive investigation of the associations between physical fitness and mating is necessary.
The investigation was restricted by the fact that data regarding both physical condition and mate value was given by the participants themselves, which could potentially lead to bias. Examining sIgA as a biological indicator of general immunity helps to alleviate this issue as it offers a more accurate account of the subject’s immune system. Further research is needed to determine if these connections are constant or vary depending on the sample.
Despite these limitations, the findings reveal that young adults view health and immunocompetence as essential aspects of their own mating worth. Individuals with improved health and higher amounts of sIgA are more likely to rate themselves as having greater mate value than those with poorer health. Nevertheless, there is no significant connection between immunocompetence and self-reported mating behavior, which implies that further investigation is necessary to explore the ties between immunocompetence and mating.
The study, “Self-perceived mate value is predicted by biological and self-reported indices of health in young adults”, was authored by Steven Arnocky, Brittany Denomme, Carolyn Hodges-Simeon, Jessica K. Hlay, Adam C. Davis, and Hillary Brennan.